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SEPTEMBER 14, 2013



Mr. Anand Sahay,

Ms. Teri McLuhan,

Mr. Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


First of all, please allow me to extend my sincere gratitude to the organizers of this magnificent event, and for graciously inviting me to be a part of this unforgettable experience. I too wish to thank Ms. Teri McLuhan for putting so much dedicated effort into producing what has been an overdue documentary on “The Frontier Gandhi: Padshah Khan, a Torch for Peace.” I look forward with profound enthusiasm to viewing the documentary, and to learning from the lifetime achievements of a great man in the history of Afghanistan and the Subcontinent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

“A Torch for Peace” captures the essence of what Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan shared with the non-violence philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi against colonial oppression, as well as all forms of ethno-sectarian prejudice. His moral struggle for furthering the cause of peace and co-existence transcended the man-made boundaries of nationality, race, religion, ethnicity, culture, or language. He saw these boundaries more as a bridge that should cement the human kind together towards pursuit of unity, peace, and prosperity for all.

As you know, Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan and Mahatma Gandhi lived and led by example, as did Prophet Mohammed (PBU), who promoted religious tolerance and social justice against all forms of extremism that undermined the universality of values that distinguish humans as the rational and logical creation of the Almighty from the rest of his creation devoid of such endowments. And in this selfless struggle for the good of all humans of his time and region, “the Frontier Gandhi” made many sacrifices, which the documentary amply illustrates.

However, he was not alone in his dedicated endeavors. He had acquired the grassroots support, commanding a large, dedicated following of people across ethno-sectarian and gender landscape, who stood by Padshah Khan, as he spread the message of his non-violent struggle for freedom from fear, freedom from exploitation, and freedom from colonization and subjugation. His message was so powerful that it resonated well with other visionary, selfless leaders of his time, especially Mahatma Gandhi, who not only endorsed the non-violent call of Padshah Khan for peace and co-existence but morally supported him.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The legacy of Padshah Khan remains instructive, as the countries of our region strive to address the challenges confronting our nations. Despite separation of our nations by artificial boundaries, the common problems facing us as humankind increasingly render man-made constructs irrelevant and obsolete. Indeed, the changing trends of our global village require the governments in our region to operate well above their narrowly defined interests.

Of course, what happens in Afghanistan affects people in Pakistan and affects people in India alike, and vice versa. We see this pattern in the problems of extremism and terrorism that commonly destabilize each of our three countries and thereby the whole region. In turn, regional instability harms the common interests of our three nations, however, each separately seeking security, peace and prosperity, which they cannot attain on their own.

To address this dilemma, we must look back into the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and the “Frontier Gandhi” for timeless guidance and inspiration. And this documentary helps remind us of how the leaders of today must work hand in hand to address the many challenges of our time and of our region, including radicalism, sectarianism, and prejudice that fuel instability everywhere.

Thank you.

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